Biological Sciences


The PhD in Biological Sciences gives suitably qualified graduates the chance to address important biological questions. Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University offers students state-of-the-art facilities and the supervision of academic staff who have trained in internationally renowned laboratories. Importantly, the programme also equips graduates with a range of professional skills to maximise future employability.


Pursuing a full-time PhD typically involves three years of conducting research and one year of writing a thesis, supported by subject-specific and general skills training and development. A full-time PhD student must submit their thesis within four years (or six years for part-time PhD students).

The programme will be managed through collaboration between XJTLU and the University of Liverpool. Upon successful completion of the programme, you will receive a degree from the University of Liverpool, which is recognised by China’s Ministry of Education.

Why should I do my PhD in Biological Sciences at XJTLU?

Key benefits of this PhD programme:

  • We provide high calibre, discipline-specific training to equip students with advanced knowledge and research skills that are relevant to both academia and the biotechnology sector;
  • The PhD degree is awarded by the University of Liverpool in the UK. The degree is recognised by the UK Department of Education as well as China’s Ministry of Education;
  • As a registered full-time PhD student, you have the opportunity to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months. Your accommodation and travel costs will be covered by XJTLU and the University of Liverpool;
  • XJTLU provides every registered PhD student with a conference fund of up to 16,500 RMB. The purpose of this fund is to support students’ academic experience, encourage the dissemination of research, and enhance XJTLU’s research profile nationally and internationally; and
  • The training takes advantage of XJTLU’s international and vibrant research environment to prepare graduates for careers in the life sciences.

Career opportunities

Suzhou is a major biomedical area in China. BioBay, a national biotechnology hub with over 400 companies, is located within walking distance of the University, while nearby Cold Spring Harbor Asia hosts prestigious scientific symposia and conferences with world-famous researchers. XJTLU operates in a rich and diverse bioscience ecosystem that combines a strong demand for bioscientists with major opportunities for high calibre research.

Our academic staff also have successful ongoing collaborations with various local and major international companies, including Eli Lilly and Company, Novartis and Unilever plc.

PhD in Biological Sciences research areas:

  • cancer biology
  • cell signalling
  • molecular microbiology
  • neuroscience
  • proteomics
  • structural biology
  • bioinformatics

Research environment and facilities

Research undertaken during the PhD programme in Biological Sciences focuses on molecular bioscience, with applications in biomedical, agricultural and environmental sciences. It also supports the key research priorities of Suzhou Industrial Park, focussing on applications in biotechnology and bioengineering.

XJTLU has state-of-the-art labs and world-class research facilities. Our studies are carried out in custom-designed laboratories with high calibre technical staff.

Industry-sponsored and jointly supervised PhD projects

The University has extensive research collaborations with industry partners. Opportunities are available for candidates to undertake an Enterprise Entrusted PhD Project funded by our industrial partners in one of the following research areas:

  • biostatistics
  • bioinformatics
  • toxicology
  • epidemiology
  • nanomedicine
  • omics technology
  • carcinogenesis
  • drug safety evaluation
  • mechanisms of drug metabolism
  • artificial intelligence in drug design
  • biomarker discovery and applications
  • discovery and validation of new drug targets

For these projects, you will be jointly supervised by a team of academic staff members from both the XJTLU Academy of Pharmacy and the University of Liverpool, as well as an industry honorary professor from a related enterprise who will provide guidance on research topics as well as future career possibilities.

Potential supervisors

Find out potential supervisors from:

XJTLU Wisdom Lake Academy of Pharmacy.

School of Science – Department of Biological Sciences.


Apply for a scholarship for a funded PhD project:
You can apply for a predefined PhD project which has received funds from the University or external funding bodies. The research topic and supervisory team for these projects have already been established.

There is no specific application deadline for each project as they will remain open for applications until the position is filled. The start date of a PhD programme is usually the first day of March, June, September, or December. You can visit the Postgraduate Research Scholarships Page for information about the specific PhD projects available or contact potential supervisors to discuss funding opportunities.

The scholarship application is only open to those applying for a full-time doctoral programme.

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